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SPI 693: Inside a Passive Income Print-On-Demand Business with Christina Umerez

How do you build a side hustle that can replace your job in under a year? How do you go from earning $300 to $12,000 per month online? How do you create a profitable passive income business designing, selling, and shipping physical products?

This episode is one that I know many listeners will mark as the start of their entrepreneurial journey. Today you’ll get an inside look at a print-on-demand business that generates incredible revenue. But that’s not all. The best part is that this online store runs on just six hours of work per week. That’s unreal!

Joining me for this chat is the wonderful Christina Umerez. She is an entrepreneur and online business content creator who runs a hugely successful print-on-demand Etsy store. In this session, Christina shares her inspiring story and gives us the framework to follow in her footsteps.

We discuss finding a profitable niche on Etsy, creating successful designs with AI, positioning and promoting your products for massive sales, the easiest print-on-demand platforms to use, and much more.

Today’s episode is an in-depth blueprint you can follow to start generating income online immediately. Tune in and take action!

Today’s Guest

Christina Umerez

Christina Umerez is an entrepreneur and online business content creator. Selling pet portraits on Etsy during the COVID-19 pandemic, she discovered the platform’s revenue-generating potential. She soon turned to the print-on-demand model for a more passive income stream, initially earning around $300 per month to supplement her traditional job salary.

Losing sleep over her stressful corporate role, Christina became determined to take her side hustle to the next level. She invested in SEO, niche targeting, and better print providers. She quickly achieved a remarkable $12,000 profit month and kept the momentum going to surpass her day job income.

Generating just shy of $100,000 profit in 2022, Christina’s store now operates mostly passively and is managed by a virtual assistant. Christina’s new focus is on teaching others how to replicate her success and achieve financial freedom.

You’ll Learn


SPI 693: Inside a Passive Income Print-On-Demand Business with Christina Umerez

Christina Umerez: I remember, like, just sitting there like I was starting to lose sleep from that corporate job. And I was like, I need to make this side hustle work. So I went like crazy and designing, crazy and listing. And that combined with it being around October, which is when Etsy starts getting really busy for Christmas, it quickly ramped up to about, I think, I went from $300 a month quickly to $8,000 a month, then $10,000 a month, and then $12,000 a month profit during that Christmas in my first year on Etsy doing the print on demand.

Pat Flynn: Long time ago, and by a long time ago, I mean like episode 99, so like 600 episodes ago, we had an interview with Jessica and Cliff Larrew. That was episode 99. And I still get messages today from people who said, Pat, that episode got me started in the online space. Because that episode was about buying stuff on clearance at Target, at Walmart in different places, and then selling them on Amazon and then making a profit and then just kind of scaling that up. And several people have come up to me over the years at events and said, Pat, that changed my life. Some people continuing to do that full-time, some people just using that as sort of the stepping stool into other parts of new online businesses for them.

And this episode today, I imagine in the future, people saying the same thing about this one because today we’re speaking with Christina Umerez, who is a person who’s built a very passive income business. I mean, nothing is a hundred percent passive income, but she spends about a week, or excuse me, one hour per day, six or seven hours per week managing her store. It’s an Etsy store, but it’s mostly completely hands off minus the designs for these things that she’s selling. Everything happens automatically and we’re gonna talk about the tools. Printify, big shout out to them because they get a lot of love in this particular episode. Yeah, this is actually something that I got so excited about that I had to try hard not to start doing this, and I think a lot of you might feel the same way.

So if you are just starting out, if you are somebody who’s been looking for a way to generate even a little bit of income online. I think this is gonna really inspire you. Actually did try to set things up the way she explained it and it didn’t take very long. So I hope you enjoy this episode. This is session 693 with Christina Umerez. We are speaking with her from Thailand. She’s just traveling all over the world now, which is amazing. Anyway, you’ll hear her story, how she got here, what she learned, and a lot of lessons to help you get started too. So here she is.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, it took him 40 years of his life to finally get into watching anime, and he’s loving it. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Christina, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you for joining me today.

Christina Umerez: Thank you so much for having me.

Pat Flynn: You know, I’m excited because we don’t often have a guest on the show who talk specifically about physical products, but you’ve been able to do physical products in a way that is very passive.

And this, of course, is the Smart Passive Income Podcast, but, I also know it didn’t start off very passive, the, like, the work that you were doing. So tell me about what you were doing before all this amazing and stuff and automation that you have going on now. What was Christina doing before and, and gimme a timeline as far as when that happened too.

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so I was working in digital marketing pretty much once Covid hit and I was along with the rest of the world, forced to be home. After five I had so much time on my hands, so I started trying to learn side hustles. Anything just to bring in some extra income. I remember thinking, I was like, this is gonna be like three months of staying inside, maybe I should leave better off I have all this time. So I started learning, started off with drop shipping, did not work out. Started off trying to do a digital marketing agency. Got in trouble with my work for that one. And then at the same time I was learning how to draw and I got my first iPad, so I started drawing like my cats and stuff on my iPad, and then I started doing it for friends.

And then I actually started listing these portraits, pet portraits on Etsy. And then I was so surprised, like I did not expect Etsy to go anywhere. I was literally just listing them for like $30. I had never used Etsy before. I was figuring you had to do marketing to get any sales, but I think I got my first sale for my pet portrait within like, a week or two of listing it.

It’s not bad. And then that was like really cool. That was my first like income that I’ve ever made for myself. So that was like a huge time of my life and luckily that started growing and growing and I started making money with these pet portraits on Etsy. But as it grew, unfortunately with the both, a whole lot of more competition came on Etsy for pet portraits, which lower made me have to lower my prices.

I have raised them from $30, I think I went up to like $60 per pet, but they also took about an hour or two hours per drawing after an order, and I was also still working my corporate job. So, I was pretty much finishing at five and then working till like midnight to get these done and it was really cool to see the money coming in, but I was like quickly burning out.

Pat Flynn: How long until you felt that burnout after you started doing that?

Christina Umerez: It was probably like six months. Okay. Yeah, that I really started feeling it, but I still kept going, especially through Christmas. I remember Christmas was the craziest, cuz of course on Etsy, people are shopping like crazy and I was getting like 15 orders a day and I was like, I don’t have 15 hours in my day to do these at all.

So I was like kind of bad at work, like trying to do it during my lunches, trying to do them in the mornings. Yeah, it was a lot.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, that’s one of those things where like, you almost don’t want orders to come in. And if your business is at a point where you don’t want orders to come in, like you, you know, something is wrong.

So what was the, maybe the breaking point a lot of people have stories of, of burning out or failed businesses. What was it for you that made you go, okay, I need to change things up?

Christina Umerez: I think it was probably during that Christmas period of just being like, I don’t have the hours of my day to fill these.

And then I even tried raising my prices. I was like, okay, I’m gonna like weed some people out through just raising the prices, but I was just getting so many return orders. Even like people who have bought one for a pet now wanted their other pet or friends that people weren’t caring about the prices, which is like a great problem to have, but when you’re very kept on time, I think that’s when I hit my point.

Like I remember that Christmas was just all the parties I had, even though there were Zoom parties at the time, I don’t think we did that much for that Christmas since it was 2020. I can’t remember if we were still in lockdown, but even then, I remember being so stressed about seeing family or doing anything.

It was like, I have to get these out. I promise these people need it for Christmas. So, oh yeah. Wow. Yeah. I think that was, yeah. This is starting to hurt and unmanageable.

Pat Flynn: Was there any consideration of like, okay, I need more time. I’m generating income here. Maybe I should quit my nine to five job and, and get more time that way.

Had that ever crossed your mind?

Christina Umerez: I don’t think so, just because I couldn’t picture myself doing this for eight hours a day. It was fun to do, cause I love to draw, but I, what I did notice, because it was also my passion, is it was quickly like I could not do this eight hours and even the posture that I had to be in to draw these, I, my, my neck was starting to cramp up.

Cause I was always like, oh wow, leaned over looking down. So, I was trying to find like new setups to like lay down without being in pain. But even every night I was in pain from doing these for a few hours. So yeah, the idea of quitting was just like, I don’t think this would be a long-term thing that I could handle.

Pat Flynn: That makes sense. So what did you do from there? Did you just completely shut that off and look for something new? Or how did you transition into what you previewed me before we hit record with. It sounds amazing. So let’s tie the two things together.

Christina Umerez: So at the same time, I had just heard of like Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

I was reading like The Millionaire Teacher. I was listening to your podcasts. I was listening to all the podcasts on like financial independence and side hustles. And of course the word that like stuck in my mind was that passive income. So I started like looking up on YouTube what I could do for passive income.

And it’s funny cuz I kind of slowly merged over into more passive, but I had heard of Print on Demand, which is getting an external supplier to print and ship your product for you. And I wanted to implement it first for those pet portraits because at least in my mind, I was still very much in the headspace of the pet portraits.

So I was like, maybe I can just charge higher and then I can also offer people to get their portrait printed on like a canvas or a t-shirt, and that would at least bring some extra income that didn’t require extra work since the portrait was already done and people were loving those. So that was great.

It increased my order value, but still didn’t solve the whole problem of I was getting too many orders for too little time in my day.

Pat Flynn: You’re not in the US right now? Where are you?

Christina Umerez: No, I’m in Thailand right now.

Pat Flynn: You’re in Thailand right now? Is, do you live there or are you just on travel?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, I’ve been traveling since January.

So that’s actually a huge reason that side hustles and doing all of this has really inspired me. It was always my, I’ve loved to travel. Yeah. So this is my big year of binge on the road for five months now. So also why I’m recording in multiple different hotel studios.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. That’s so cool. And obviously you wouldn’t have been able to travel as much if you were drawing portraits all day.

So, nope. Print on demand, a little bit of a taste of that. You’re like, oh, okay, we’re making money without doing a ton of work here, cuz all the work was already done up front. What was going through your mind and, and, and like, tell me about the switch.

Christina Umerez: So I think it was just the like aha moment of like, after selling a few of these, then I was like, maybe I could actually pre-make some designs and just sell them, not customized because I’ve already learned about how passive it is to quickly just send Printify who was my supplier, the designs for them to print and ship it for me.

So after I put through the order, there was no more work on my end. So then I started a second Etsy store just creating these designs that had fun with simpler designs, they’re usually like text designs or they didn’t have to be as complicated as a whole person’s customized pet. And I started listing those on Etsy as well.

And then those ones didn’t have to be customized at all. So if someone purchased them, There was like no more work on my side, which was just like perfect for me to kind of solve all this. I was still running the pet portraits on the side. Those were still bringing income. This hadn’t kicked off yet, but I do remember getting my first sale on these.

I remember like even just sitting there and I was like, wait, I don’t have to do anything. Like I got an order and there’s just nothing I gotta do. You just have to kind of pay off your supplier, but there’s no work. So I started moving all my time to developing those instead, creating tons of t-shirts, tons of sweatshirts, like hundreds of listings.

And soon those started kicking off. I think it took a little bit to get started. I think it took like five weeks for my first sale, maybe two months to start making a few hundred in passive income per month. And then I think I held at like $300 in passive income for a few months. And then, around October my, I had switched jobs, like corporate jobs into a new job that was getting extremely stressful.

My last job hadn’t been too bad. This one, it was a like higher up role. There were a little bit more intense. I remember hit like just sitting there like I was starting to lose sleep from that corporate job. And I was like, I need to make this side hustle work. So I went like crazy and designing crazy and listing and that combined with it being around October, which is when Etsy starts getting really busy for Christmas.

It quickly ramped up to about I think I went from $300 a month quickly to $8,000 a month, then $10,000 a month, and then $12,000,000 a month profit, during that Christmas in my first year on Etsy doing the print on demand.

Pat Flynn: Wow. Congratulations, Christina. That’s that’s awesome. And you said profit, so that’s not just like sales revenue. That’s how much you get to take home. Yeah. That was profit every month after you pay Printify for the supplies. And, and I have a bunch of questions, so th this is great. When a person purchases from your store, one of your designs, you said no work. Like, you don’t have to send that over to print like do the APIs talk to each other and it kind of just all happens automatically.

Christina Umerez: Yep. Pretty much. When you first set up your store, you link the two. And you actually publish your product to Etsy via Printify and so when you get an order, oh wow, okay, if you go over to your Printify it’s already in there. It’s already says, going to production. There’s literally nothing you have to do.

They’ll print and ship it. The only time you actually have to do anything is if your customer messages you sometime down the line with an issue, like maybe it got lost in shipping or something, but sure, it’s very passive.

Pat Flynn: Okay. That sounds wonderful. As far as the designs, when you started to see some in, you said five weeks.

I mean, that’s, that’s a, that’s a good amount of time to just keep going at it until you finally saw some income. I think a lot of people would probably give up by that point and say, oh, another week went by, I haven’t made anything. What, what made you keep going with it during those first five weeks, even though you hadn’t yet generated any income?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, I think it was, I was starting to follow a lot of like different YouTubers and I think just every time I became demotivated it was just watching those, like if these people can make I think they were saying they made a million in their first year in sales and I just kept watching them and I was like, if they can do it, I can do it.

They look like people like me. And I was growing slowly. I wasn’t going too crazy on designing in those first five weeks cuz it was like I was still had the other income, I still have my job. And so I was like slowly adding when I was feeling motivated like this. But I think once I got that first sale after a while was like, oh. I can do this, and that really kickstarted the motivation to just keep consistently adding.

Pat Flynn: I remember when I started my business in 2008, I had put google adsense on my website, and I made $1.18 and it like changed everything. You know, it just makes you believe that this is actually possible.

And then of course I kept going with it and leaned into it in the sense of then made millions. But it really, like, getting to that first sale is really, really key. I’ve, I’ve heard many other people tell their first sales story. We’ve had Stu McLaren here on the podcast, who’s an incredible entrepreneur, talk about in his first sale too, which was actually from his brother-in-law.

He didn’t know, but his brother-in-law was just trying to be nice to him and then he ended up being a millionaire because he saw one sale come in and then he had the confidence and he put himself out there. So anyway, it was, it was a good story. Your first sales that came in with the print on demand side of things, were those sales designs from like the first five weeks, or was there like one design that you finally did that like popped off and it did will?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so it was actually one design that started selling. It was my first seller and it was, another aha moment, which I realized in Etsy is creating designs for things that are super niche. And for me, actually I’m super into like breathwork, Wim Hof, ice baths. So it was actually like a, just a simple breathwork shirt.

Which not that many people are into. So there was not many people designing for it, like at all. But the group of people who are into it are super passionate, and that’s a great thing on Etsy is you also show up on Google as well for searches. So it’s not just Etsy, it’s people looking for these shirts.

And that actually ended up being my first bestseller and then I started creating more around that niche, which also kept selling because, no way, I had found the one that worked for me.

Pat Flynn: That’s crazy. And that, that makes sense. Like if one works, you keep offering different things to the same audience. So can you gimme an example of like, what one of your designs was for the, the Wim Hof. I’m familiar with, with that method and with that person and, and that breath work. But I’m curious of what a shirt might look like that might intrigue super fans of, of that technique.

Christina Umerez: Yeah. One was super simple. I just said Breathe in. Breathe out. It was a super simple shirt. And then I think another one, it was like when you have three things listed, it was like mindset, ice baths, and breath, and it was super simple.

Text designs. That’s good. Yeah. Which I realized, oh, I had tried to over design, but just these ones, this. Simple ones that speak to the audience were the ones that did it really well, which was great cuz they were the easiest to create.

Pat Flynn: That’s really cool. How is Printify with quality? I know a lot of people who try the print on demand thing and you know, they try to get sayings on shirts for their audience and of, you know, the, the, the quality isn’t always that great with print on demand, which is why, you know, I know a lot of entrepreneurs who do work with t-shirt companies, but then they have to like buy a whole bunch up front. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And it’s good quality, but they have to buy, like, you know, the, the hard thing about shirts is like, well, I gotta get all the sizes now, and then there’s all the different colors.

And so like, one design could mean like, 12 different versions. Yeah. And so Printify handles that of course, but how is the quality, like how did you examine that and how did you, how did you know that they were like the the company to go with?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so I actually had tested between Printful and Printify getting a few samples listed, like half my products on both and I was getting more complaints with Printful. Oh, interesting. Yeah, Printify I actually now has like a rating system, so they Printify works with a bunch of different printers and they all have ratings which you’re able to rate, so you can actually go in and click and you can see on a score of 0 to 10, their quality score, their production time score, and I think their shipping time. I think those were the three. But you can see it broken down based on general ratings, and I honestly don’t have too many quality complaints. Of course, sometimes they’ll kick up more than others. During Christmas, I’ll get a few.

Sometimes you can tell some suppliers are busy and customers will get the wrong shirt completely, but it’s not that much. Like majority, I maybe get complaints on like 1% to 5% of orders and usually maybe it’s just a scratch on their shirt or like pilling and if you just get a picture from your customer, that’s why I really, really like Printify is their customer service is incredible.

You just get a picture, show it to them, and they will offer a refund or a reprint, which then you ask your customer which one they would prefer. And then Printify no questions to ask, we’ll usually send that. And I’ve even had where like sometimes if the shirt gets lost in transit, they’ll even help replace that.

So I’m never really out of pocket for anything.

Pat Flynn: That’s really cool. How often are you having customers buy more than one item? I’m, I’m curious, especially with how many items you have and, and also how, how many skews are there? How many, how many different designs are there in, in your library right now?

Christina Umerez: Yeah. So right now I have a lot. I just hit a thousand listings. Wow. Yeah. So there’s lots of designs up there quite a bit now. When I first started, I was testing many niches. So people you would usually only buy one shirt because they weren’t really relating to the other products in there. But I’ve moved away from the breath work now and found a different niche that I’ve had a lot of fun designing in.

And now mostly everything that I design is within that niche. So now I’m starting to get a lot more orders with multiple products because they purchase, go into my store and see a whole bunch of other things that are related. So I’d say maybe like, for me, a fifth or a third of my orders have multiple products, but I know some people whose whole store is like bachelorette shirts, wedding shirts, birthday shirts, so they’re getting orders constantly of like, yeah, 10 to 15. It kind of just depends where you’re going with your store.

Pat Flynn: Oh, that makes sense. So like, let’s get the whole bridal party situated with, with, with a shirt or, or a, a sash or something like that.

Christina Umerez: Yeah. Like family Christmas shirts do really well.

Pat Flynn: So, oh yeah. Or like Disney like family trips or family reunion stuff might be kind of interesting. Hmm mm-hmm. It’s making me think about like strategically, if I were to create an Etsy store of sorts, like h, how would I best position myself for success? So on those lines, if somebody were curious, now, first of all, you don’t have to tell us what niche you’re in, because I know there’s some, like, you know, you’d be given away some secrets there, but what made you choose that niche and why did you lean into it? You said you had fun designing for it, but was there anything else that made you really dive in deeper into that?

Christina Umerez: I think it was a mix of what I tell a lot of people, as well as when you’re first starting out your store, test multiple different like niches, write down a list.

I put out a few designs for each of them and for me, I had probably at least like 10 to 20 like different niches in my store. And then you just start to see what’s selling. So for me, I don’t like to pick my niche and like pigeonhole myself right away when starting the new Etsy store, but I’m testing.

And for me, that was the one that was getting the most purchases and it just also happened to be the one that I really liked designing for, and it had a lot of sub niches within it. So I could also branch off even further within that niche.

Pat Flynn: That’s neat. With the designs, I’m curious, where do you get the inspiration for the designs in, in this new niche?

And then also do you do any, or what’s the worry about trademarks and what does a person need to know to keep themselves from, you know, getting a cease desist letter or worse when putting designs up and and selling them?

Christina Umerez: So the biggest thing I like to think of is that for copyright, if you are using someone else’s brand to profit, then you are most likely infringing on the copyright.

So, like you mentioned earlier, Disney has come cease and desist letters on Etsy. There’s lots of, I know Harry Styles, even like putting the word Harry Potter in any of your listing will automatically get you taken down. And the best thing that’ll happen, they’ll just take down your listing. But if you get too many of those, your whole store is being shut down.

You’re never getting it back. So what I tell people is just avoid, avoid trying to profit off of someone else’s brand. They do really well. And it sucks as you are gonna go on Etsy and you’re gonna see stores with 10,000 sales that are all Disney products. And the temptation is going to be there to do it because they don’t check that often.

And of course they’re not coming from everyone. But is it worth it in the long run? Because if you start making sales and they do one sweep and they’ll do it randomly, And they ding like 10 of your listings, your store’s probably gone forever.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Probably not worth the risk. No. So knowing that, how do you get ideas for different designs?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so for me, usually what I’ll do is I do a lot of first research on Etsy, going through other people’s bestsellers, and I’m not trying to copy. What I am doing is I’m taking note of what type of fonts they’re using first, what colors they’re using, and then really thinking of how I can change these up. Either make them better or how can I completely change the niche to apply to my own. So I’m mostly looking at other sellers just to understand what makes a good design. Cause that’s something I also like I help people with Etsy audits, and sometimes you can tell when they’ve never taken a look at bestsellers. You can’t read it. It just probably doesn’t look good on a shirt. So I always recommend to people like do a lot of research first, just spend some time on Etsy going through what’s selling. You can take screenshots, you can try to get the same font, and that helps a lot. And one thing that I’ve actually been doing lately, which has been super fun, is using ChatGPT to help me create sayings.

So even like sub niches, I’ll ask it like for example, like a teacher. I’ll ask ChatGPT, write me 20 sub niches for teachers, and then maybe I’ll do, write me 10 funny sayings related to each, and that will usually spit out a bunch of like quick phrases that might do really well on a t-shirt.

Pat Flynn: Interesting. Now when you list something, you know, I know it’s best practice to have like images, but the product hasn’t been made yet. So do you go to Printify to collect those images to then, or you say you create the listing on Printify like, like tell me how I have a t-shirt design in my head. What do I do?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so you’ll create the design. I like to create them on Canva. Okay. And then you’re gonna save it as a PNG file with a transparent background. And then on Printify you can go in and select the product you wanna put it on. So say you want a T-shirt and then you’re gonna get a list of printers. Do the one that sounds great to you. For people who have actually looked into it, I really like to use on the one called Swift Pod, I’ll hit design and then you can do the placement on the shirt. So you bring in your design, place it on their platform, and then you hit publish. And because your Etsy is already linked, when you go back into your Etsy, you’re gonna see a new listing there.

It doesn’t have everything filled out. I usually, you can fill some of it out on Etsy or on Printy, but I usually wait until Etsy and there you can go add in your photos, your title, your tags, your descriptions, so everything is kind of still set for the marketing on the Etsy side. Printify is just sending it so that they’re linked.

Pat Flynn: Got it. As far as best practices for getting your listing found, What would you offer those who, who are gonna be listing their first product after this episode?

Christina Umerez: Number one is getting good photography. Like you had mentioned, you don’t get to see your own design. If I purchased all a thousand of my listings for photos and multiple colors, I’d be poor.

So you can, you can actually buy mockups on Etsy, so you can look up your exact product and you can write in, like for me, I sell the Bella Canvas 3001 t-shirt, so you can look that up. And then plus the word mockup on Etsy and people sell these for a few dollars. And then I purchase the ones in the colors for everything that I’m going to offer it on.

And then I’ll make mockups also in Canva. So I bring in that file of the mockup, and then I bring in that design file. That same one I had brought into Printify. And then I place it on the shirt and then I save that, and then I actually use those as my Etsy photos.

Pat Flynn: Cool. So good, good photos. What about titling?

Is there anything specific we need to know about there?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so for titling, one thing I like to say to people that I think it really helps me think is for your keywords, what do you think someone is going to type in the search bar? And that if your product came up first, they would be like, yes, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Because sometimes people will title their products, either something so specific that they’re not going to ever find it like, maybe they have like this really long teacher quote on there and they put that in their title, but people aren’t searching for that quote. They’re searching for a teacher quote shirt, right?

Or a teacher shirt. Inspirational teacher quote. Yeah, inspirational shirt. They don’t know the text that’s gonna be on your shirt most likely. Unless it’s a funny saying and you think that there actually are looking for that exact saying. And then as well, with that mindset, things that are too vague, like I’ll see a shirt that just says gift for her, but what are the chances that if you showed up, you were the only listing on there?

That gift for her, is actually applicable to what that person was searching for. It’s extremely vague. It’s probably the most used keyword as well on Etsy. So you’re probably on page 10,000. Yeah, and it’s very specific, especially if you have like a teacher shirt. What are the chances that gift for her, she’s a teacher, she wanted a shirt.

Pretty vague. I find those kind of a waste of space in your titles.

Pat Flynn: What is the thought behind keyword stuffing a title? I have seen a lot of listings on Etsy. I do a series on my Pokemon YouTube channel where I buy things on Etsy and I review them or just kind of react to them, and I see like, Pokeball, toy collectible, adult kid, boy, girl, small toy gold, shiny Pikachu, Evie, that’s like the title of the thing.

And yeah, you know, I end up finding it, but like what are your thoughts about that? Is there a better way to, to make sure we get a good title that speaks to a human, but also like gets found when people search for it.

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so for me, I like to add in commas and put them in those phrases of what people would search on Etsy.

Okay. Yeah. Some people just put like the keyword, like gold her t-shirt aesthetic, but those aren’t a key phrase that someone is gonna search up. So like maybe in my title, if it was like an English teacher shirt, I would have English teacher shirt, gift for English teacher, English teacher, T-shirt, or tee.

And I would put in a few phrases but never just not broken up. Because if someone searches on Etsy and it matches exactly what one of the phrases in your title is, then you are gonna rank higher. So for English teacher T-shirt, if that’s exactly what they searched, you’re probably going to be showing decently high.

Of course, there’s so many other factors in there, but title is a big one. Versus if you had this choppy teacher, aesthetic gift, mom, and just a bunch of random one word phrases shoved into the title, I don’t see you ranking that high, and I do see that a lot.

Pat Flynn: This is really good. Christina, I have a couple more questions, but I wanna make sure people understand where they can go to get more info.

I mean, is this stuff that you teach and talk about on, on your end? It sounds like you do help some people if they want more help. Christina, where, where should they go?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so I’m mostly on TikTok and YouTube. Under C.U.Online. Which I thought was punny, cuz it’s my initials, but, got it.

Pat Flynn: Nice. We’ll make sure to put the links in the show notes for everybody. The last couple questions I have, the first one is about pricing. How do you manage pricing? Because you could price high, make more money, but then you’d price yourself out because there’s cheaper versions of it versus going low. Yes, it’s on print on demand.

So you’re not necessarily losing money by not selling, but you know you wanna make as much money as possible. What would you suggest?

Christina Umerez: Yeah, so the first thing I suggest is I’m sure you’ve pr if you’re buying things on it, so you’ve probably noticed that a lot of people will list something for super, super low, and then you actually go to purchase it and it’s like three times more.

That’s something I don’t recommend. Okay. A lot of people will do that. Just to get initial clicks. For me, I like to offer free shipping. I like to bake everything into my pricing so that people are not shocked when they actually go into my Etsy listing because conversion rate based on how many people clicked into your listing and how many people purchase also plays into your Etsy ranking.

So if you are doing these deceiving type of pricing, which is getting a lot of people to click in, but then abandon, that’s not gonna help your ranking at all. So for me, what I do is I usually create a spreadsheet. I put in the price, I put in the shipping. I minus about like 9% for the fees and processing fees from Etsy.

And then I’ll add in the profit that I want, and that’s how I usually get my pricing. And sometimes what I’ll do is I’ll do a lower pricing as well, a lower profit, until that product starts making sales. And then I’ll slowly add a dollar or two here until, because it’s already starting to rank high, and then probably get to more of the profit that would make it manageable or make you happy.

Pat Flynn: Love it. That’s great. There’s also a lot, I’m finding a lot of articles written about you. Printify has a great one that talks about a little bit about your journey. I also see your TikTok as well, which seems to be popping off. So @C.U.Online, like see you online. Yep. Love it. Well, congrats on all of that.

The last thing you had mentioned, analytics and analytics are very important to me and my team. We use data a lot to inform what to do or what, what not to do. How good are the analytics on Etsy? Like what are the kinds of things that you as a seller are looking for? You’d mentioned conversion rates, which means, okay, this many people are visiting your sales page, but then this is how many people are actually closing.

And it seems to me like the higher the close rate, the better the rankings will be. That makes sense. Cuz Etsy knows they’re gonna make more money. But what else are you looking at? How can we pay attention to the data and what data should we pay attention to, to to increase our sales and, and do better?

Christina Umerez: Yeah. So there’s quite a bit. Sometimes what I’ll do even is, for some data, you only get it from ads. Sometimes when I do a new listing, I’ll run an ad just for a few days just to see the click through rate, which will tell me how good is that photo, how good is that design?

Pat Flynn: And that’s an ad on Etsy itself that, that you’re spending, yeah, to do. Okay. Got it.

Christina Umerez: And then you can also go into your, they have marketing analytics that you can see. What keywords are you ranking the highest for? So that can also really help you know what keywords to continue using in some of your designs or which way to keep going with your designs. So you can see for the example English teacher T-shirt, maybe that’s one.

It’ll show you what page that is making you show up on it is showing you the click through rate. And so taking a look at those can really help you as well. So I do take a look at that. I take a look at conversion rate usually. Yeah, my visits and views throughout the day is something I also like to look at, just to see how my store is progressing.

And then of course, usually my sales is just my biggest sign for everything. It’s like, this is doing well, then I should both be looking at what photos was I using, what products is it, what niches are it, and what can I branch off from there to test what it is? So I am usually doing a lot of testing sometimes with my listings.

What I’ll do is I’ll duplicate the listing and try two different main photos, one of a shirt on the ground, one of a model wearing it, and then sometimes if I’m not sure what I want my main keywords to be, I’ll duplicate them and then I’ll try different keywords for two different titles. So I do like to test a lot just to see, cuz sometimes it might not be the design, it might be, people don’t want a black t-shirt right now, but your main photo that you’re advertising with is a black t-shirt.

People don’t know to click in, but you also have a pink t-shirt in there. So I’ll do things like that to get some extra data.

Pat Flynn: That’s interesting. So although we talked a lot about passive income and you’re generating quite a bit of it, first of all, congrats on that. And this is allowing you to travel and, and to, to have more freedom in your life, which is the, the whole point of this.

But you are putting in a lot of work still, like you’re managing the store, you’re adding new creative, you’re checking the analytics. So if I were to ask you, how many hours a week are you putting into this currently, how many hours are you putting into this per week. At this point.

Christina Umerez: I probably put about like an hour a day.

It’s become a little bit less cuz I’ve now hired a VA to help just the customer service so amazing. The only thing I really do now is check once a day to see what’s been selling and I’ll make some designs it cuz I still love designing. It’s just something that I’ve always loved to do. Obviously with the pet portraits, I love to draw and make designs for this store, so it is something I’ll usually spend an hour a day still trying to think of new ideas and designing for.

Pat Flynn: That’s cool. Have you ever created a design that just like it just didn’t sell?

Christina Umerez: Oh, lots. Yeah, lots.

Pat Flynn: Okay. That’s good to hear. And then, do you keep those up or do you, if they don’t sell at all, do you remove them from the store?

Christina Umerez: So what I’ll do is I’ll usually keep them up and then usually they’ll expire in four months.

And then once in a while I’ll go into my expired listings and they only expire if they haven’t sold in four months. Okay, gotcha. And then, so once in a while I’ll go into that expired listings and I’ll see, do I still think this is something that could sell? Maybe in those four months I’ve learned that this SEO’s not good.

Maybe I’ve grown since I created that. Maybe I realize now the photos aren’t good and I’ve learned some extra things during that time. So if I still believe in that design, then I’ll just rejig the listing and then repost it again. But if it’s something that it’s like, okay, now I can obviously see this design’s horrible.

I’ll just keep it off.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. But I mean, it’s worth a test. Right? And this is the beauty of this, like there’s very little risk compared to the possible reward. Yeah. And I think that Christina, you’ve inspired a lot of people today. You’ve inspired me. If I wasn’t already busy doing all this other stuff and you know, with family and fishing and all the other extracurriculars, I’d definitely be in the weeds with designing and, and Canva.

And this just sounds really cool. Like this is wonderful. Thank you Christina, for outlining this for a step by step. One more time. Where can people go to follow you? And, you know, I wanna wish you all the best of luck.

Christina Umerez: Yeah, thank you so much. And you can find me at C.U.Online on both TikTok and YouTube.

Pat Flynn: Awesome. You’re amazing. Thank you so much for your time today.

Christina Umerez: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Pat Flynn: All right. Wasn’t that fantastic? I hope you enjoyed that episode. You can check her out on TikTok and Instagram at C.U.Online. C.U. For Christina Umerez. And again, the show notes and everything, the links and whatnot are mentioned

Like I said in the beginning, I tried out to set things up. I try, I set things up just right after this interview. I just, I was like, is this easy to set up? And it was. Started my store on Etsy and got involved with Printify connected the two. And I haven’t yet designed anything cuz I just wanted to see like, is this easy to set up and yeah, so you can give it a shot, see what happens and I’m gonna wish you all the best.

And Christina teaches a lot of the stuff. Again, you can find her on TikTok, especially at C.U.Online. Thank you again for listening. And please, if this episode affects your life in some way in the future, I want you to remember this and come back to me at some point and say, Pat, it was that episode with Christina, the person who was talking about Etsy and Printify that that made changes in my life.

And I do hope that we hear some of those stories down the road. And you know, that’s up to you. So cheers. Thanks so much. Take care, and I’ll see you in the next episode. Peace.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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